The old kindergarten lesson of sharing packs a powerful punch for small businesses looking to save money.
Sharing software, that is -- an affordable, easy, and even green way to save money for businesses looking to enhance their collaboration and productivity. And for some companies the savings can reach upward towards $100,000 for the year! Alas, the flexibility of sharing has its downside: most of these a la carte tools don’t interconnect for smooth sailing, whereas packaged software may offer a comprehensive “suite” approach.
So while you resolve to get your collaborative groove on in 2010, we did the legwork to find cutting-edge software alternatives that dramatically cut your costs.
1. Continue with Google Docs for file sharing instead of spending on Microsoft Office Professional. According to one dabbler in the Google and Office arts, “Office is much more "industrial strength" or "fully-featured" than Google docs. But Google docs is good enough for most purposes.”
Savings: $350 per person.
2, Google brings it again with the free Google Calendar and Gmail, which for many, especially younger workers who have grown up using it, is much more appealing than the pricy Outlook. The color-coding feature of Google Calendar is awesome, as is the text messaging to the phone for events and reminders. The ability to share calendars is a cool collaborative feature. It even lets you search for community calendars and add them to yours for reminders. Plus the ability to see several separate calendars all on one screen makes it easy to trace staff vacations down to the tiniest details. Outlook Calendar meanwhile is also powerful but seems limited to the corporate paradigm.
Savings: $115 per person plus the cost of operating an Outlook exchange server or purchasing that service on as ASP basis.
3. Consider the SAAS-impressive HighriseHQ.com instead of Salesforce.com. A good information management program is mandatory. Where Salesforce.com is expensive, particularly with multiples user accounts (starting at $3,900 per quarter) HighriseHQ.com has much of the same functionality for managing contacts but at a fraction of the price. Consider prices starting at $49 per month for 15 user accounts and up to 20,000 contacts in the database. Plus you can try it free first to see if it meets your needs.
Savings: up to $3,500 per quarter.
4. And who needs another body in the office? With Tungle doing much of the heavy-lifting of appointment scheduling, there’s no need to yell at anyone but the screen.
Savings: up to $50,000 per year.